Home Featured Not Heat, But Light: Vayak'hel 5784 / 2024

Not Heat, But Light: Vayak'hel 5784 / 2024

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This week’s Torah portion, Vayak’hel, begins: “וַיַּקְהֵ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֶֽת־כּל־עֲדַ֛ת בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל / Moses convened the whole community of the children of Israel…” The word I’m translating here as “convened” is vayak’hel. It’s the same root as the word kahal, community. Moses communicated the community. Moses called the community to be by gathering the people.

In the wake of the the Gaza ceasefire resolution recently proposed in Williamstown, I’ve had a lot of conversations in the last few weeks with members of the CBI community about whether we feel like one Jewish community, and whether we feel connected with the non-Jewish community around us. Do we have to agree to be a community? 

Perhaps the children of Israel were united at this point in our Torah story. They’d just received the second set of tablets of the Ten Commandments; maybe their shared experience or shared values united them. They may have come to feel like one community after literally building the spiritual home of the Holy together. 

FireMoses tells us first that we can work for six days, but on the seventh day…



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